3 Healthy Hamster Food Options From Pellets To Fresh Vegetables

Here's how to give your hamster the best diet.

If you’ve recently become a hamster parent, then you’re probably in the process of learning anything and everything you can about these cute little creatures, including what kind of hamster food you should be feeding him.

We talked to the experts about what makes a food nutritious for hamsters and why, and found the absolute best hamster foods that are currently available to purchase.

What foods can hamsters eat?

The most important thing to figure out upon becoming a hamster parent is what kind of food your new little friend should be eating. There are a few options out there, but only one reigns supreme.

Pellets, seeds and rodent blocks

The best food you can feed your hamster will be pellet-style food.

“Hamsters do well on a mixture of pellets and a small amount of seeds, grains or pieces of nuts,” veterinarian Dr. Gregory Rich of Avian & Exotic Animal Hospital of Louisiana told The Dodo.

“The ideal food for hamsters is a commercial pellet-type food or rodent blocks,” Dr. Megan Conrad, an Oregon-based vet who works with Hello Ralphie, told The Dodo. However, unlike Dr. Rich, Dr. Conrad believes seeds are not necessarily good to include in your hamster’s diet.

“Seed diets can be high in fat and deficient in the nutrients your hamster needs,” she said.

If you do choose to give your hamster food that’s a mixture of pellets and seeds (aka variety food), make sure he finishes the entire bowl of food before you replace it — this will ensure he’s getting the nutrients from the pellets and not just picking out the tasty seeds. Picking and choosing what to eat out of a variety food is called selective eating.

But both vets agree that a seed-only diet is not ideal. Pellets and/or rodent blocks are the way to go.

Best hamster food you can buy

So which hamster foods are the best for your little buddy? Here are some brands that come recommended by the experts.

Best overall hamster food: Oxbow Essentials Hamster Food

The hamster food from Oxbow is probably the most balanced food you can buy. “Oxbow brand products offer the most complete nutrition for your pet hamster,” Dr. Rich said. This pellet-only food prevents selective eating; it’s packed with protein, fat and carbohydrates, which are all necessary for an active lifestyle; and it contains antioxidants and prebiotics to support a healthy immune system. 

Best rodent blocks: Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health

Dr. Rich also recommends Kaytee brand foods for hamsters. The Forti-Diet Pro Health formula is in a larger pellet form (rodent blocks), which prevents selective eating and encourages chewing and maintaining dental hygiene. It also contains probiotics and prebiotics to aid digestive health.

Best variety hamster food: Kaytee Fiesta

If selective eating isn’t an issue with your hamster, then you can feed him a variety food like Kaytee’s Fiesta formula. This food is part pellet, part dried fruits and veggies, and part seed, which makes each bite a tasty treat. But again, if you notice your hamster’s only eating the seeds or fruit and not the pellets, then switch him over to a pellet-only diet to make sure he’s getting enough nutrients.

Fresh foods hamsters can eat

Similar to rabbits, hamsters can also eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables — but, like seeds, fresh foods should not make up the majority of your hamster’s diet.

“Small pieces of fruits and vegetables are fine to feed your hamster, though they should be an addition to their diet (given as a treat) and not their only food,” Dr. Conrad said.

And Dr. Rich noted that “fresh vegetables can be offered in small quantities … several times a week.”

“Hamsters can eat a variety of green leafy vegetables,” Dr. Rich continued. “They can also be offered a variety of other vegetables, including carrots, squash, broccoli and bell pepper.”

Fruits like blueberries, strawberries, bananas, pears and apples also make for tasty hamster treats every once in a while. Make sure you’re cutting these fruits into small enough pieces so that your hamster can eat them easily.

“Avoid foods with high water content, such as iceberg lettuce or watermelon, as well as citrus fruits,” Dr. Conrad said. Rhubarb, chocolate, beans, cookies, crackers, breads and other processed foods should also be avoided.

If you have any questions about your hamster’s diet, make an appointment with your vet so they can give you more personalized advice based on your hamster’s health situation and daily activities.

We independently pick all the products we recommend because we love them and think you will too. If you buy a product from a link on our site, we may earn a commission.